Course Syllabus

Summer 2016 :: ENGL 5010 (Studies in Fiction)
Controlling Desire: The "Fiction" of Huxley and Orwell
Days/Times/Location: Online

Instructor: Adam Halstrom
Email Address:
Office Hours: Online by appointment
Office Location: MLIB 1705K (map)


In this course we will explore the chilling and thrilling dystopian novels Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, and 1984, by George Orwell. Although we will likely discover together many interesting and productive ways to approach these texts, our governing theme will be the expression and suppression of desire and the relationship between desire and control. Traditional readings of these two works situate Huxley’s world as being controlled through uninhibited free-will and pleasure, and Orwell’s through forced ignorance and fear. But neither novel is so simple. We will put pressure on these traditional readings, and with the help of some critical and theoretical sources, examine the complex institutional and social structures that both novels present. And, perhaps, in the process, we will learn a little something about ourselves as well.


Required Texts*

We, Yevgeny Zamyatin (Modern Library, Trans. Natasha Randall; ISBN 978-0812974621)

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley (HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0060776091)

1984, George Orwell (Penguin, ISBN 978-0452284234)

*All other required reading for this course will be posted on Canvas.

Course Outcomes

Throughout the semester, students will demonstrate analytical and critical thinking and communication skills through regular close reading exercises and formal writing assignments. 

General Course Requirements

Additional information and guidelines for each of the course requirements for this course is available in the weekly summary pages which you can access from the Course Home Page. If you have any questions about the assignments, you are responsible for contacting me at least three days, that’s 72 hours, before the assignment is due. I expect all of your assignments to be submitted by the due date, so make sure you review the weekly summary pages in advance, and ask questions early and often to ensure your assignments meet all of the requirements and are turned in on time.

(25%) Weekly close reading and small group discussions. The details for each close reading and small group discussions will be posted on a separate page in Canvas and in the weekly summary pages. In general, the weekly small group discussions will require you to post a short (2-5 minute) video to your group’s discussion board, watch your group members’ videos, and respond to at least two of them. Regular participation during your group discussions is essential to an effective learning environment in my class. Unless noted otherwise, close reading videos are due on Tuesdays at 11:59PM MST and discussion responses are due on Fridays at 11:59PM MST for full credit.

 (25%) Weekly class discussions and/or assignments. The details for each class discussion and assignment will be posted on weekly summary pages in Canvas. In general, the weekly class discussions will require students to make an initial post (typically 200-400 words), read their classmates’ posts, and respond to at least two of them. Unless noted otherwise, initial posts are due on Thursdays at 11:59PM MST and responses are due on Sundays at 11:59PM MST for full credit.

A note about late assignments: If your discussion post, response, or other assignment is submitted past the due date, which is clearly marked on the weekly summary page and on the assignment/discussion page in Canvas, you will only receive half credit. No exceptions! So please plan ahead and make sure your discussion posts and assignments are submitted on time.


(20%) 3-4 page mid-semester paper. A list of topics will be posted on the weekly summary page, and under Assignments in Canvas. Due on Sunday, July 3rd at 11:59PM MST for full credit.

(30%) 6-8 page final paper. Due on Sunday, August 7th at 11:59PM MST for full credit.

Technical Requirements

This is a fully online course. That means you will do all of your work for this class online. You must have consistent, reliable (even zippy) internet access throughout the semester. You will be required to access Canvas several times every week to, among other things, access course materials, submit assignments, collaborate with your fellow students, communicate with me (your instructor), and learn about changes to the course schedule. You will also need access to a webcam throughout the semester!!

If you believe the technical requirements of this class will be a problem for you, please contact me immediately to determine whether or not you will be able to successfully complete the course. Lack of access to Canvas or an inability to complete the assignments and discussion posts will not excuse missing assignments.

More information about the Technical Requirements will be available in Canvas.

Content Accommodations

Some of the texts, films, or assignments in this course may include material that conflicts with the core beliefs of some students. Please review the syllabus carefully to see if the course is one that you are committed to taking. If you have a concern, please discuss it with me at your earliest convenience.


To learn more about the University's Drop/Withdrawal Policy, click on the links below.
Drop policy:
Withdrawal policy:


The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities.  If you will need accommodations in this class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the instructor and to the Center for Disability Services, UNION 162, 801.581.5020 to make arrangements for accommodations. Also see

Academic Honesty

You should document and be prepared to prove where you get information you use―especially when you write that information into your own assignments. Willfully copying another’s work and presenting it as your own constitutes plagiarism, which is an offense I take seriously. If you fail to act responsibly, you will most likely receive a failing grade (E) for the assignment in question, and you will possibly fail the course.

If you have questions about how to avoid specific instances of plagiarism, feel free to ask me. If you have questions about the U’s plagiarism policy, please refer to sections II and V of the Student Code.

Writing Resources

I am your primary source for help with writing assignments in this course. You can also take full advantage of the services offered at the University Writing Center. They offer one-on-one assistance with writing, and their tutors can help you understand your writing assignments, work through the writing process, and/or polish your drafts for all the courses in which you are enrolled. Sessions are free of charge, and you can meet as often as you need. To make an appointment, call (801) 587-9122. The Writing Center is located on the second floor of the Marriott Library. You can visit their website at

Class Schedule

This schedule is subject to change. Please check the weekly summary pages each week to make sure you don't miss anything.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due